Kitchen Tools Worth the Investment for Every Home Cook

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I’m pretty confident I will never have to buy the Maserati of garlic presses. I do not need a top-of-the-line wooden spoon or measuring cup.

In fact, my kitchen is mostly equipped with tools that I spent very little money on.

That being said there are a handful of items I think are totally worth the investment for the home cook. These items are made incredibly well and are created to last a lifetime.

Almost all the kitchen tools in my kitchen that are over $100 were purchased during a sale! It was really helpful for me to have a list of items I knew I wanted in my kitchen so I could keep my eyes out during sales (holiday sales, Black Friday, and Prime Day)!

Prime Day with Amazon is here and it is truly an amazing time to get some of of those more expensive kitchen items! (Amazon Prime Day will begin at midnight PT on Monday, July 15 – and for the first time ever – runs for 48 hours with more than one million deals around the world.)

Here’s what you need to know: you need to be a Prime member to get the best deals.

If you aren’t a Prime member (please raise your hand), I got you. Sign up here for a free 30 day trial with Prime Membership. You can cancel at anytime. And you will get instant access to some of the best Prime Day sales.

Here are some of the top kitchen items I think almost every home cook should invest in! I use these items weekly, if not daily, to cook for my family, our friends, and neighbors. I did not purchase all of these at once. I purchased them over the span of several years. But I did get every single one of them during a sale.

  1. Instant Pot–  the IP is an airtight cooking device that cooks food quickly using the steam pressure that builds up inside. 
Here is how I use my IP on the regular:
    • Cook sweet potatoes in 15 minutes
    • Make a 3 lbs roast in 75 minutes
    • Cook a whole spaghetti squash in 7 minutes
    • Cook frozen chicken in 20 minutes

The Instant Pot is also a rice cooker and yogurt maker. It can saute and it has a function to cook like a slow cooker. I love it so much that I converted several of my recipes to have a method for the Instant Pot.

Generally the Instant Pot starts at $100 and go up from there. But for Prime Day you can get an IP starting at $49.99

  1. Chef’s Knife (or high quality, sharp knife)

When I got a little more serious about equipping my kitchen for everyday cooking, the number one product recommended to me from culinary experts to home chefs was a sharp, high quality knife. If you do not know where to start with equipping your kitchen, start with a sharp, high quality knife.

You only need one, generally a chef’s knife or a Santoku. I have several because I like knives as much as Sarah Jessica Parker likes shoes.  Most tasks for prepping a meal can be completed with a knife from chopping, dicing, slicing, peeling…

I travel with my own knives because this tool really can change your time in the kitchen. A dull knife makes even the simplest task tedious and frustrating but a sharp knife will make your time prepping food for a meal a breeze.

A high quality knife will also last you a lifetime, especially if you take care of it.

There are a lot of great brands on the market. I use Wüstoff, which is a german brand, because that is what was first gifted to me and I love their knives.

I encourage you to go into a kitchen store like a Williams Sonoma and speak with a sales clerk about the different brands of knives. They’ll let you hold them and you can find which brand fits most with your hand. Watch a few YouTube videos on how to hold a knife and then practice, practice, practice. You too, will start to travel with your own knife once you realize what a difference it will make in the kitchen!

For Prime Day, there is a slight sale on the Wüstoff Chef’s knife at almost 10% off.

  1. KitchenAid Stand Mixer – Right now, for Prime Day, the KitchenAid Stand Mixer is up to 35% off!

This mixer is a powerhouse for baking especially when it comes to dough, cookies, cakes, whipping cream…the options are really limitless. But if you know me, you know I don’t make a lot of sweets because I typically do not crave sweets.

Alas, I still have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and I am kind of obsessed with it. I use it weekly for shredding batches of chicken breasts or chicken thighs. I also have an attachment that allows me to grate big blocks of cheese in seconds.

What makes the KitchenAid Stand Mixer such a magical item is all the attachments you can purchase to use. There is anything from a pasta attachment to a juicing attachment.

Generally these mixers can start around $400 but during Prime Day you can get some models of the KitchenAid for as low as $260.

  1. High Capacity Blender – For Amazon Prime Day some models of the Vitamix are over 35% off!

I have a Vitamix blender that I have loved since first use. I can use my blender for smoothies, soups, dressings, margaritas, purees, frozen treats, homemade nut butter and homemade nut milk. This blender does everything and we use it daily especially for our smoothies. But I love it in the winter for soups. Pureeing butternut squash soup, caramelized mushroom and garlic soup and especially roasted tomato soup. This blender has tackled everything I’ve given it with ease.

Generally the Vitamix can start around $400-$500 and go up from there, but for Prime Day some models are less than $300.

  1. Food Processor

There are actually a lot of similarities between a food processor and a high capacity blender but I have found that I need both in my kitchen and I do use them both regularly.

A food processor is my go to for making dips, salsas and spreads. A high capacity blender (like a Vitamix) typically needs a good amount of liquid to perform its task. But when I am making say whipped feta or fresh herb paste or even chunky salsas, I pull out my food processor.

It can also be a little easier to control consistency with a food processor. A high capacity blender can generally take anything and complete liquify it (frozen fruit into smoothies, root veggies into purees…). With a food processor I can pulse the ingredients until my desired consistency is reached.

My food processor has lasted me for years and I truly cannot imagine my weekly meal prepping without it!

  1. Cutting Board – One way to ensure that your high quality knives will stay sharp for a long time is to use it on the correct surface. Typically a wood or bamboo cutting board is ideal.

About 5 years ago I purchased an $80 Boos cutting board. Full transparency? I purchased it because it was what everyone on Chopped on the Food TV Network used. It is large and it is not light.

This created a happy accident when I realized I just wanted to keep my board out at all times.

It’s nice looking so I did not mind having it out all the time and it removed one step in meal prepping for me – getting out my cutting board. Every time I walk into my kitchen my cutting board is right there and it signals me to just do the thing I need to do.

Before people start asking about my counter top space, it is very limited. In fact my cutting board takes up most of our limited countertop space. But it also acts as a signal for people to gather around.

This Boos cutting board is easy to clean, just lemon and salt. And it will last me forever.

  1. Enameled Cast Iron Braiser or Dutch Oven

There are a lot of great inexpensive pots and pans out there on the market but my favorite thing to brown meat, saute veggies, bake casseroles, and roast fish in is my enameled cast iron braiser. I make most our weeknight meals in this braiser. I can brown my meat in it which then allows me to deglaze the pan for a delicious sauce for extra flavor. I actually use this more than a nonstick pan or any other stovetop pan or pot I have.

It can go from stove to oven to tabletop. I have the Le Creuset brand which can be pretty pricey. So always look for them during a sale. If you live near a Le Creuset outlet that is even better. They have phenomenal sales!

Are you still with me?!

Most of this list has been dedicated to kitchen items that are an investment. These are tools that will equip your kitchen for a lifetime and you can invest in them over time and during sales! But to finish this list, I have three quick items that I absolutely cannot live without in my kitchen.

  1. Garlic Roller – Naked garlic for all!!

I use garlic almost on a daily basis for our meals. Peeling garlic has never been a task I’ve loved. I used to just smack the back of my knife against the garlic to pop the peel off but, that can be dangerous and it’s unnecessary wear and tear on your knife. Also? Some recipes call for whole garlic cloves and now we’ve smashed the garlic to pieces.

I discovered the garlic roller at a kitchen store in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s a silicon tube and you just place the clove of garlic inside, roll it a few times and out comes a naked garlic. It is like $5 and I cannot live without it.

  1. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat

I think every home cook should own this book. I own it and have devoured it. It is not your typical cookbook. Samin breaks down the science behind creating a delicious meal. With fun pictures and easy to understand principles, you will feel more confident in the kitchen. You will be more equipped to pull together a delicious meal without needing a recipe!

I featured it on my Christmas Guide this last winter because it is not only packed with information but it’s really beautiful. (I give this book as a gift often!)

The most confident home cooks don’t just know how to read a recipe. They understand the ingredients they are working with and know what it takes to bring a delicious meal together. Samin literally breaks down everything you need to know to create delicious meals at home.

Right now with Amazon Prime you can get $5 off book purchases of $15. Use the code PRIMEBOOK19 to get Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat today.

  1. Bluetooth or Smart Speaker – because we all need music or our favorite podcast for the monotonous and tedious task of cooking meals.

We have a smart speaker in our kitchen and I love it because it can play our favorite music or podcasts while we are in the kitchen cooking or cleaning but also because a smart speaker can answer many of our kitchen questions like, “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in 1/2 cup” or “Alexa, what temperature do I need to cook meat for medium rare?” Alexa is also quite excellent when it comes to setting multiple timers.

Right now for Amazon Prime Day the Alexa Smart Speaker is 50% off!!!!

Are our smart speakers listening to us? Um, yes. I don’t love that little feature. But I still use one.

If you just want a good ol’ bluetooth speaker that can’t listen to you, this cordless UE Boom has fantastic sound!

What items in your kitchen were an investment but worth every penny?!

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  1. Celeste says:

    Do you cut raw meat on your wooden cutting board? How do you sanitize it after? That’s my biggest hesitation with a wooden cutting board. Thank you!

  2. Jennifer says:

    You linked the 3.5qt braiser.  Is that the size you use?  I have a 12″ lodge cast iron skillet with lid and I’m wondering how they compare in size.  Thanks! 

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